They call her diabalita (the devil) because of her dark and damaging nature inside the ring. But outside Michele Gutierrez is a good natured, proud mother of a two year old girl who found MMA as a way off a destructive path.
Why did you start fighting?
When I was younger I got into a party scene after college, hanging around with the wrong crowd. I woke up one morning and felt like sh*t so I looked in the phone book and the first page it landed on was a place called The Boxing Club. My first day there they told me I had the fastest hands they’d ever seen. So, I got hooked and never turned back to drugs or drinking. It basically saved my life.
Where are you currently training?
I recently left Vaderlei Silva’s gym. Right now I’m at Throwdown in Las Vegas under Tony Strickland. He used to be Jens Pulver’s trainer. He’s basically taken over my life right now.
What is your current schedule like?
Every Monday he gives me a print out and it has my schedule on it. 9:30 to 11:00 is conditioning. I go home and rest then return at 4. We’ll work on wrestling or takedowns one day or muay tai. They are always split up.
Where did your nickname come from, Diabalita?
When I was at The Boxing Club the trainer told me I was the sweetest and most innocent real girl he knew. But after I sparred for the first time I got evil in the ring. He thought diabalita fit me.
When is your next fight?
Right now we are looking hard for a fight. We want someone I can test myself against. A trained MMA fighter who will challenge me.
So you’re not looking for a rematch with Amanda LaVoy?
By now everyone knows what really happened in that fight. It’s all over the place. She pulled my head down while holding my hair. I was trying to pull my head back up and creep out but she had my hair and caught me with a knee. It opened an artery on my head that’s why there was so much bleeding. My trainers and I agree that we don’t need to step back in the ring with her. She’s no on my level. I want a win over someone who can move me up the ranks. That night she took female fighting four steps back.”
Where do you want to see female fighting go?
I’d like us all to train hard, to have us all look like real athletes. Nothing shady, nothing catty. I want to cooperate with the promoters to put on good fights and prove all the doubters wrong.
How do you feel about the new Fighter Girls Tank Top featuring your picture?
I think it’s absolutely awesome! Debi Purcell is amazing. I will only ever wear FighterGirls clothing no matter what. My daughter wants it. She wants like five different ones. She wears it all the time.
Cynthia Vespia is a certified personal trainer through the National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT) and National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF). Vespia is also a published author, creative design specialist, award-winning video editor. Find out more at http://www.fightergirls.com